Born and raised in Shepparton, Cody Mohamed has been ingrained in the Goulburn Valley community since she was born. Surrounded by strong female role models her entire life – her great grandmother and great aunt were the first Aboriginal people in Bundaberg, Queensland to attend high school and her mother recently completed her MBA through the University of Melbourne – education was always a priority, even from a young age. “Education is so important to my mother,” Cody says. “She wanted me to go to GVGS so that I could have the best education possible.” Cody started at GVGS in Year 7 after receiving the Aboriginal Scholarship. She then became involved in the support group that was formed for Aboriginal students attending the school. The group identified ways to educate and raise awareness in the school community regarding Aboriginal heritage and culture. “One of our goals this year was to have a special Indigenous assembly, and it was amazing,” Cody says. “The support group is really good for the younger students because if they are struggling then the group is there to help them out.”
An active member at her local church, Goulburn Valley Christian Fellowship, Cody has spent the last six years volunteering at their after-school care programme organising the activities and engaging the younger members of the congregation. She is also a member of the local Dhungala Children’s Choir, performing alongside Paul Kelly at the 2017 ARIA Music Awards at the Sydney Opera House. “I’ve been in the choir for nine years, ever since primary school,” Cody says. “I’ve had so many amazing opportunities during that time.” Cody also joined the Lighthouse Shepparton’s Youth Leadership Advisory Table when it formed in 2018. “We hold monthly meetings discussing what we can do as young people to improve Shepparton,” she says. “It’s taught me a lot of really important leadership skills.”
Cody was appointed as a Social Justice Prefect for 2019 and used her leadership position to collaborate with her extracurricular interests. The money raised from two major fundraising events during the school year – the Amnesty International Sleep-Out and Year 5 and 6 Pyjama Day – was split and donated to the Shepparton Education First Youth Foyer and Shepparton Magistrates’ Court. “The court wanted to purchase supplies such as coloured pencils for young people to entertain themselves while family members were involved in the legal system,” Cody says.
Year 12 Coordinator, Chelsea Pohlner credits both Cody’s academic and personal achievements to her well-developed time management skills and high level of organisation. “Cody has effectively transferred these skills from the school setting to her daily life; ensuring that she has been able to continue contributing to numerous programmes in the broader community throughout Year 12,” Mrs Pohlner says. She also commends Cody on balancing the demands of two folio subjects at the VCE level this year; Studio Arts and Visual Communication Design.
With the year now ending, Cody is focused on her ATAR results. “I’m pretty nervous about it,” she says. “Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and it took a toll on my grades…I’m going to be happy with whatever result I get though.” With her result imminent, Cody thanks the staff and teachers at GVGS for everything they have done for her over the years. “I’ve always been so well supported while I’ve been at GVGS; the teachers are amazing,” she says. “Especially during VCE…they’ve just been incredible.” Ultimately, it’s the unwavering strength and support from her mum that keeps her motivated. “Mum is so supportive of me not only academically, but also of my extracurricular activities,” Cody says. “She wants me to be a well-rounded, productive member of the community no matter what happens.”
As for what the next 12 months holds, Cody is excited to spread her wings and explore the country. She plans on moving to Canberra temporarily to work in an administration role before relocating to Melbourne in 2021. “I’ve lived in Shepparton my whole life, so I want to get away and experience somewhere new before I move down to Melbourne and start studying,” she says.
Cody says she is looking forward to continuing her studies in the future. “When I was younger I wanted to be a paediatrician, but after I did work experience in Year 10 at the Royal Women’s Hospital I changed my mind and really wanted to be a nurse,” she stated. “Getting to interact with the patients was what I enjoyed most…I’d love to be a midwife I think.” Cody would also like to eventually head back overseas and continue the humanitarian work she started in 2014. “One of my biggest goals for life in general after leaving school is to travel,” she says. “When I was in Year 7 I went on a mission trip with my church to Kenya and that made me want to go back overseas and work there again in the future.”